The war launched by Russia against Ukraine has been accompanied by an upsurge in repression against the opposition within Russia itself.
This is stated in the annual report of the human rights organization Amnesty International.
The document notes that peaceful actions against the war were dispersed, often with the use of force; administrative and criminal proceedings were instituted against those who opposed the war.
“New laws have been passed that restrict protest activities, the activities of NGOs and civil activists,” the document said.
The persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses continued. As noted in the report, torture and other forms of ill-treatment of detainees, arrestees and prisoners occur everywhere.
“Reports of abductions and enforced disappearances continued to come in from Chechnya,” the report said. – Fair trial standards have been consistently violated in the country. People who refuse to serve in the army for reasons of conscience are not allowed to perform alternative civilian service. New laws have stigmatized and discriminated against LGBTI people.
According to Amnesty International, thousands of Ukrainian civilians have been killed.
“Russian forces have committed war crimes and crimes under international law,” the report said.
Hundreds of thousands of Russians have left the country, especially with the start of “partial mobilization” in September, when many men were sent to the front without proper training or equipment.
“As part of their continued crackdown on the opposition, the authorities have imposed increasingly severe restrictions on freedom of expression and peaceful assembly,” Amnesty International said.
More than 19,400 people were arrested, including journalists covering the protests. Most detainees were fined or placed in administrative detention.
In March, new laws were passed to “discredit the use of the armed forces” and to “knowingly disseminate false information about the use of the armed forces”.
In December, more than 100 and 180 criminal cases were opened against them, respectively, and at least 5,518 administrative “discrediting” protocols were drafted, the report said.
Over 200 criminal prosecutions have been initiated for anti-war activities under other articles.
In April, artist Alexandra Skochilenko was arrested for “knowingly spreading false information about the use of the armed forces”. She faces up to 10 years in prison for replacing price tags with anti-war leaflets in a St Petersburg supermarket.
In December, a court sentenced opposition politician Ilya Yashin to eight and a half years in prison for reporting on YouTube about the massacres of civilians in the Ukrainian town of Bucha by Russian soldiers.
“Dozens of independent publications have been shut down across the country and thousands of websites have been blocked,” Amnesty International said.
In March, the Ekho Moskvy radio station was shut down and its website blocked. In March, Roskomnadzor blocked social networks Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.